Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hall of Fame Candidates, 2014

Lou Zamuda leads the HOF new candidates.  In 23 years, the great Utah shortstop collected 3891 hits, 1902 RBI and 2040 runs.  He was one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time, winning 8 gold gloves.  Zamuda was a part of all 6 of Utah's world championship teams.  Zamuda was drafted by Miami in 1991, expected to be a weak hitting but superior fielding shortstop.  After his rookie year Zamuda was traded to Utah.  In 1993, working extensively on his swing with manager Eddie Bird and hitting instructor Lamont Malone, Zamuda raised his batting average from .264 to .351.  It was not a fluke, he was just getting started.  He hit .392 in 1995 and .388 in 1996.  He added power to his game in 1997, hitting .332 with 19 homers, 98 RBI while scoring 141 runs in 1997 and was named the league MVP.  He followed that with an even better season in 1998, hitting .366 with 27 homers, 131 RBI, and 153 runs while repeating as MVP as Utah won their fourth championship.

After the 1998 season the Utes broke up their dynasty.  Conan, Kermit Holmes, Eddie Bird, Mike Langford, and Tom Groovine all moved on, but Zamuda stuck around for the rebuilding.  He became a middle of the order hitter, and in 2002 drove in 139 runs and won another MVP award.  Zamuda remained an impact player into his old age, hitting .341 with 107 RBI in 2006 at age 38.  The next year Utah made it back to the world series, and Zamuda scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th in game 6 to finish the series.  They won again in 2009 as a 41 year old Zamuda hit .300, and hit cleanup.  His 3 run double in the first inning of game 6 set Utah up for a 5-4 series clinching win.  He retired after the 2011 season, at age 43, with more career hits than anyone in APBA history.

Ryne "el jawa" Solo Jr. played 22 seasons, mostly with Alaska, Louisville, and Miami, and excelled at getting on base.  He had 3087 career hits, and also took 1789 walks for a .394 on base percentage.  Seven times he took over 100 walks in a season. El jawa played second base for about half his career before moving to first.

Damon Nkik was the #1 overall pick in the 1996 draft.  In 1998, he hit .338 with 21 homers and 117 RBI while stealing 36 bases and leading Green Day to 93 wins, their first winning season and first playoff appearance.  In 2000 Nkik stole 108 bases.  He drove in 100 or more runs 7 times.  In 2006 and 2008 Nkik was an important part of two Superior League championship Miami teams, though both times they fell short in the world series against New York.  Nkik retired with 2456 hits.

Jason Gambini played 3rd base for the 1999-2000 Autobot championship teams, and first base for the 2003 title team.  In 2003, his game 4 homerun off Roger Chillingworth put the Autobots in the lead as they went up 3-1 on the way to a series win.  Gambini had 5 season of 100 or more RBI, including 33 homers and 119 RBI in 2001.  He finished with 317 homers, playing 11 of his 15 seasons in Phoenix.

Del Holdworth played 15 seasons, collecting 2353 hits.  He had back to back 200 hit seasons with the 2001-2002 Texas Gunfighters.  None of this hits were ever bigger than the 9th inning, game winning double off Jaret Benser in game 6 of the 2007 World Series, which brought home Lou Zamuda.  Holdsworth also played in the world series with the 2004 Boston Beaneaters, and the 2009 Utes.  His 2 run homer in game 6 that year helped Utah to hold off New York.

Sammy Swopa hit 445 homeruns, including 6 seasons of 40 or more.  In 1999 he became one of 6 players to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season.  In 2003 Sammy hit 49 homers, drove in 147 runs, and won the Superior League MVP award.  A fine defender, Sammy won 4 gold glove awards.  Sammy did not have a long career, fading in his 30's and retiring at age 35.

Bob Zygyk and Leon Wolf had great years with the Utes, and for other teams after 1998.  Zygyk played in a record 10 world series.  In 1997 Zygyk led the league in batting (.354) and RBI (123).  A platoon player in his years with Utah, Wolf hit as high as .382 in limited playing time.  Given a chance to play every day later in his career, Wolf won back to back batting titles at ages 33 and 34 with averages of .357 and .344.  In 2007, Leon won another batting title at age 39 (.322).

John Conner had 2875 hits, and had his best season in 2001 (.314-34-132) as Springfield won their only world series.  Vern Terrell also played for that team, hitting 30 homers and driving in 120, on the way to 408 career homers.

Jojo Lewis was a 7 foot tall Rastafarian whose 100 MPH fastball came out of a tangle of long limbs and dreadlocks to terrify opposing hitters.  He won 331 games, second only to Roger Chillingworth, and struck out 5032 batters, more than anyone in APBA history.  He struck out 200 or more batters in 14 seasons, won 20 or more games three times, and 19 in three other seasons.  He won the Cy Young award 4 times, including 3 in a row from 1995 to 1997.  He also holds the record for throwing 4 no-hitters.  The most impressive one came in 2000, when he struck out 15 Springfield Isotopes.  His final no-hitter came in 2011, his final season, when the 41 year old shut down the Utah Utes.  Jojo led the Orlando Rugrats to their only world series title in 1994, pitching a shutout in game 1.  He was also part of the Autobot teams that beat Florida in 2000 and New York in 2003.  In 2003, He beat Roger Chillingworth in game 4, and held a lead in game one which the bullpen could not hold.  In 2000 he started Phoenix's sweep off with a 7-3 win over the Penguins, striking out 9 over 7 2/3 innings.

Jake Decker ranks 5th on the all time saves list. As a rookie Decker pitched 138 innings and struck out 158, numbers that will likely never be seen again by a reliever.  He saved 35 games and posted a 2.09 ERA. 

Henry Rollins saved 400 games over his career, and had his best season with the 2007 Utes.  That year Rollins had a 2.80 ERA, saved 53 games, and was known as "The Saving Ute".  In game 2 of the 2007 series, Rollins pitched 2 scoreless innings to save a 7-4 game.  In game 3 he again pitched the final two innings for a save, giving up one run in an 8-6 Utah win.  In game 6 he allowed a 9th inning, game tying homer to Chad White, but got the last two outs and was the pitcher of record when Del Holdsworth drove in Lou Zamuda to finish the season.

All the candidates can be found here:


At 12:30 AM EST, Anonymous Tanis Half-Elven said...

It is no shock that your Hall fo Fame article is down to its usual standards...horrific. You completely neglect to even mention one of the most important players in APBA history...Sithas Kawasaki. Without Sithas there is no Mazdahonda or Dervish. There are no opportunities to bring in top elvin talent and there certainly wouldn't be the increased revenues in APBA over the last decade without Sithas coming to the league. To fail to even mention him but continue to push your obvious UTE agenda is disgraceful...Rollins? Really?! Who's next? Mervis Taylor? Vinnie Costanza? You may not like Chicago, but Sithas and Sammy deserve to go in together! Fat yoda, you should consider drowning yourself in a swamp, but leave the obituary to someone else lest you screw that up as well.

At 12:37 AM EST, Anonymous Michael Jordan said...

I'm a Chicago treasure, but even I got Sithas' autograph!

At 12:40 AM EST, Anonymous Shinz┼Ź Abe said...

You have humiliated your family and your nation. More importantly you have insulted elves everywhere and even we are angry here in Japan. You should consider seppuku.

At 12:41 AM EST, Anonymous Ferris Bueller said...

Are you on the Utes payroll? Talk about biased journalism. You must hate Chicago.

At 12:41 AM EST, Anonymous Santa said...

Consider yourself on the naughty list.

At 3:07 PM EST, Anonymous Al Capone said...

Somehow you highlight a mobster like Gambini and neglect a Chicago treasure like Sithas? I hope you don't have any plans to visit Chicago anytime soon...or maybe I do...

At 5:36 PM EST, Anonymous Lefty said...

What do you expect from a hack like this? He's GREEN! He lives in Dagobah! A morbidly obese Yoda.

At 10:56 PM EST, Anonymous Everyone Everywhere said...

I saw Lyman at the store earlier tonight and almost ran him over with my car. But I was afraid his fat body would seriously damage my precious vehicle. Believe it or not, he is even fatter in person than any of the descriptions found in The Herman!

But seriously, Fat Yoda, you should really go on a diet. Oh, and we hate you.

At 10:58 PM EST, Anonymous Quark said...

I demand The Herman immediately print an article dedicated to Sithas Kawasaki. It is a complete utter insult they haven't done so already. Do you know the royalties I can earn if Sithas is able to sign "HOF" after his name?! I know people.

At 9:10 AM EST, Anonymous Angry Subscriber said...

If we're making demands, I demand fat yoda resign immediately or I will be canceling my The Herman subscription.


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